late March to early April
The Mississippi Legislature officially designated the magnolia as the State Tree in 1938.
The magnolia flower can be seen on the Mississippi state quarter.
No doubt about it, Mississippians have long admired the creamy white blossom and the evergreen tree upon which it grows. The choice of the Magnolia as the Mississippi state flower is a natural one. At least that’s what the school children of the state likely thought back in 1900 when they chose it over several other native flowers. However slow to act, the state’s legislature didn’t name the Magnolia the state flower of Mississippi until 1952.
For generations, Mississippians have sought shade beneath Magnolia trees on antebellum plantations, enjoying the unmistakable, sweet scent of Magnolia flowers wafting through the air. Even today, the trees can be found on preserved and restored plantations, such as Biloxi where magnolias dot the grounds of Beauvoir, the plantation home of confederate president Jefferson Davis.
Magnolia buds appear in late March and early April, by mid-spring their flowers are in full bloom. The Mississippi state flower is at once showy and elegant. Its cup-like blooms range in color from cream to pink and reach impressive sizes, up to 15 inches across. Each flower is made of numerous waxy petals that provide contrast to the tree’s shiny green foliage.
Magnolia flowers produce a strong sweet perfume. Though beautiful and impressive, the life of the Mississippi state flower is a short one. In fact, Magnolia blooms may only be pristine for several days. By autumn, the Magnolia’s flowers have dried up and its petals have fallen. In its place, forms an attractive red seed pod that is enjoyed by squirrels, rabbits, birds and even wild turkeys.
Full Sun/Partial Shade
4 - 9